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Archive for October 7th, 2015

Illinois Valley agency cutting business hours due to state budget impasse

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

The state budget standoff is starting to affect businesses in the Illinois Valley.

The Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living announced that due to the budget impasse, the agency will be reducing their businesses hours.

Starting October 16th, IVCIL will start closing at noon on Thursdays and will be closed all day on Fridays. They will also be closed the three days before Thanksgiving and the three days after Christmas.

According to their website, the IVCIL is “a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities in opening doors to their independence.” They operate in Bureau, La Salle, Putnam, Marshall and Stark Counties.

IVCIL’s Mobile Meals program will continue to operate and deliver meals at their regular schedule.

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Grand jury indicts Spring Valley man on five burglary counts

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

How many burglaries does someone have to pull off before they’re called a serial burglar?

Mason Hass of Spring Valley was indicted Wednesday in La Salle County Court for three counts of burglary and two counts of residential burglary. He was arrested last month by La Salle Police and at that time was thought to have played a role in 30 burglaries in La Salle, Bureau and Marshall Counties. Prosecutors now think Hass could’ve burglarized up to 75 homes and businesses.

He needs $10,000 to get out of jail. Hass is due back in court Friday in Ottawa.

More arrests are expected with the alleged burglary ring.

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Book published documenting history of Streator Fire Department

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

A book seven years in the making about the Streator Fire Department has been published.

Shane Elko never was a firefighter but became interested in the history of the Streator Fire Department so he started compiling information about fires dating all the way back to 1887. Elko was about 90 percent done with the book “Dancing with the Devil: Stories from the Streator Fire Department” when he passed away last year. His family then approached firefighter Bryan Park and they finished the book.

Elko’s book goes all the way back to the 1880s and includes a chapter on the Kennedy Truck Body fire where two firefighters were killed.

The book is $12 and is available by clicking Streator Fire Dept Book

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Ottawa chasing down grant to redevelop riverfront and hopefully stop flooded basements

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

Ottawa has gone after several grants over the years but nothing compares to their latest effort.

The city is one of 40 finalists across the country for a share of a billion dollars from the federal government’s “National Disaster Resilience Competition.” Through a partnership with the state, Ottawa hopes to get over $15 million in grant money while agreeing to fork over about $6 million for the local match.

The grant money would include around $9 million to develop the city’s waterfront. Plans are to build a marina and amphitheater where the old Central School once stood.

Other grant money would pay for sanitary sewer improvements. City Engineer Dave Noble says flooded basements of homes and businesses can’t continue happening and this grant money would go a long ways to fix the issue.

Other plans for the grant money would be to build a flood wall around the wastewater treatment plant and to develop the Harper’s Farm property east of town. The farm would include a compensatory store area for floodwaters along with hiking trails.

Noble says the grant application deadline is October 25th and the city should learn its fate in December.

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Big pot bust made on Interstate 80 near La Salle

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

This big of a pot bust doesn’t happen very often. A man state police call a cannabis smuggler is accused of hauling over 100 pounds of pot through the Illinois Valley.

Thirty-six-year-old Thoai Minh Le of Garden Grove, California was pulled over Monday on Interstate 80 near La Salle. A trooper says after catching a whiff of marijuana, Le’s car was searched. Allegedly inside were four large suitcases stuffed with 106 pounds of pot.

Le was arrested with cannabis trafficking and possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver. Both charges are felonies that can bring as much as 30 years in prison.

Le is due in court Wednesday.

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